Here is an (occasionally-annotated) list of some of the A Team’s top recommendations for movies to show with church groups – movies with meaning, that are also worthwhile for all ages to watch. Add your own suggestions, please!
1. The Straight Story, by David Lynch
2. Freedom Writers
3. The Vernon Jones Story
James Earl Jones delivers a tour-de-force performance as courageous civil rights leader Vernon Johns. Spurred to action when two parishioners are brutally attacked in racially motivated incidents, Johns — a church deacon — uses his power and charisma to begin the battle for equality that will reverberate for decades. Mary Alice, Joe Seneca, Clifton James and Cissy Houston provide first-rate support in this inspiring true story.
4. The Visitor
5. A Lesson Before Dying
6. Praying with Lior?
Lior Liebling, a Jewish boy with Down syndrome, spends his days praying endlessly to God, much to the delight — and occasional befuddlement — of those around him. Follow Lior, nicknamed “the little rebbe,” as he approaches his bar mitzvah. Ilana Trachtman‘s coming-of-age documentary paints a touching portrait of a family, while raising tough questions about notions of faith and disability.
7. Millions (faith)
8. Amazing Grace (good parallels re modern abolition movements)
9. A Man for All Seasons
Whoopi Goldberg stars in this inspirational story about a girl battling the oppression of apartheid in South Africa. Schoolgirl Sarafina lives in Soweto. Her mother lives in Johannesburg, where she works for a white family. Missing her mother, Sarafina puts her energy into fighting for freedom. When police shoot and kill protesting students, Sarafina is arrested as a demonstrator and must face prison and torture.
11. Catch a Fire
13. The Power of One
14. Life is Beautiful (with older children)
15. Iron-Jawed Angels – Some gruesome scenes but well worth it for the reminders about how hard our foremothers fought for the civil rights we now take for granted.
16. Rabbit-Proof Fence
17. Hairspray! – A musical that’s just as socially-progressive as it is fun to watch!
18. Beautiful Boxer – If your church can handle a gorgeous movie about a trans Thai kickboxing champion.
19. Fast Food Nation and Food Inc. – Why aren’t churches that practice communion as one of their central rituals not more active in discussions about food safety and health????
20. Renewal – Great documentary with short segments about different faith communities (not all Christians) doing what they can for the Earth. Easy to watch in parts, easy to discuss.
21. Eyes on the Prize – series